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Thirty-five years ago today, Live Aid rocked the world for charity

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Thirty-five years ago today — July 13th, 1985 — the landmark Live Aid charity concerts took place in London and Philadelphia, raising millions of dollars for African famine relief.

Bob Geldof, frontman of The Boomtown Rats, and Ultravox‘s Midge Ure organized the two concerts, which took place at London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium. Geldof and Ure enlisted a who’s who of top acts to play at the shows, including U2, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen, Judas Priest, Santana, The Who, David Bowie, Madonna, Bryan Adams, Sting, The Cars, Hall & Oates, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Elvis Costello, and George Thorogood.

In addition, Led Zeppelin‘s surviving members reunited at the Philadelphia event, while Phil Collins was the only act to perform on two continents — he played at the London show, and then hopped on the Concorde, jetted to the U.S., and took the stage in Philly.

The shows were broadcast around the world to an audience of two billion viewers across 60 countries. Live Aid ultimately raised more than $150 million — with inflation, nearly $357.5 million today.

Although Geldof maintained there would never be another Live Aid, on July 2, 2005, he organized Live 8, an even more ambitious series of concerts that took place around the world. Live 8’s most memorable highlight was a reunion of Pink Floyd, while other famous artists who also performed were a number of Live Aid alums, including McCartney, U2, Madonna, Sting, Elton, The Who and Adams.

Here’s a partial list of who played what at Live Aid 35 years ago:

London’s Wembley Stadium
Elvis Costello — “All You Need Is Love”

Sting and Phil Collins (with Branford Marsalis) —  “Roxanne,” “Driven to Tears,” “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” “Message in a Bottle,” “In the Air Tonight,” “Long Long Way to Go,” “Every Breath You Take”

Bryan Ferry (with Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on guitar) — “Sensation,” “Boys and Girls,” “Slave to Love,” “Jealous Guy”

U2 — “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Bad” (with snippets of “Satellite of Love”, “Ruby Tuesday,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Walk on the Wild Side”)

Dire Straits — “Money for Nothing” (with Sting), “Sultans of Swing”

Queen — “Bohemian Rhapsody”/”Radio Ga Ga,” “Hammer to Fall,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Will Rock You”/”We Are the Champions”

David Bowie (with Thomas Dolby on keyboards) — “TVC 15,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Modern Love,” “Heroes”

The Who — “My Generation”/”Pinball Wizard,” “Love, Reign O’er Me,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Elton John  — “I’m Still Standing,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (with Kiki Dee), “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (with George Michael and backing vocals by Andrew Ridgeley), “Can I Get a Witness”

Wembley Stadium Finale
Queen’s Freddie Mercury and Brian May — “Is This the World We Created?”
Paul McCartney —  “Let It Be”
Band Aid (led by Bob Geldof) —  “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”


Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium
Joan Baez — “Amazing Grace”/”We Are the World”

Black Sabbath — “Children of the Grave,” “Iron Man,” “Paranoid”

REO Speedwagon —  “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Roll with the Changes”

Crosby, Stills and Nash — “Southern Cross,” “Teach Your Children,” “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”

Judas Priest — “Living After Midnight,” “The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown),” “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”

Bryan Adams — “Kids Wanna Rock,” “Summer of ’69,” “Tears Are Not Enough,” “Cuts Like a Knife”

The Beach Boys — “California Girls,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Good Vibrations,” “Surfin’ USA”

George Thorogood and the Destroyers — “Who Do You Love” (with Bo Diddley), “The Sky Is Crying,” “Madison Blues” (with Albert Collins)

The Pretenders — “Time the Avenger,” “Message of Love,” “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Back on the Chain Gang,” “Middle of the Road”

Santana and Pat Metheny — “Brotherhood,” “Primera Invasion,” “Open Invitation,” “By the Pool”/”Right Now”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers — “American Girl,” “The Waiting,” “Rebels,” “Refugee”

The Cars — “You Might Think,” “Drive,” “Just What I Needed,” “Heartbeat City”

Neil Young — “Sugar Mountain,” “The Needle and the Damage Done,” “Helpless,” “Nothing Is Perfect,” “Powderfinger”

Eric Clapton (with Phil Collins) — “White Room,” “She’s Waiting,” “Layla”

Phil Collins (having taken Concorde from UK to USA) — “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” “In the Air Tonight”

Led Zeppelin Reunion — (with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Tony Thompson, Paul Martinez, and Phil Collins) — “Rock and Roll,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Stairway to Heaven”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” “Daylight Again”/”Find the Cost of Freedom”

Hall & Oates — “Out of Touch,” “Maneater,” “Get Ready” (with The Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks), “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” (with The Temptations’ David Ruffin), “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “My Girl” (with Kendricks and Ruffin)

Mick Jagger (with Hall & Oates, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin) — “Lonely at the Top,” “Just Another Night,” “Miss You,” “State of Shock”/”It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)” (with Tina Turner)

JFK Stadium Finale
Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood — “Ballad of Hollis Brown,” “When the Ship Comes In,” Blowin’ in the Wind”
USA for Africa (led by Lionel Richie)  — “We Are the World”

By Andrea Dresdale
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